The Crossbar System That Controlled MIT Trains

Kuenzig Books, John F. Kuenzig jfk at
Fri Sep 26 18:51:14 CDT 2008

John -
If you don't have any luck and want me to contact the folks at the MIT 
Museum I have a few contacts there (as well as being an alum).  I just 
sold them some General Radio stuff.   As space is limited there as most 
places, if there are any dimensions available that would be helpful.  If 
you want out of the loop just send me their contact info off list and 
I'll pursue it.
John Kuenzig

John McNamara wrote:
> During the period 1962-1966, members of the Tech Model Railroad Club 
> of MIT conceived and constructed an unusual use for telephone 
> equipment that functioned essentially as a combinatorial network. 
> Specifically, they used five10x10 crossbar switches and more than 100 
> wire-spring relays to construct a control system for their large 
> HO-gauge model railroad. Pictures of this control system can be seen 
> at 
> Like all good electromechanical telephone systems, it remained in 
> service for almost 40 years, even surviving a move between buildings. 
> In 2002, it was replaced by an electronic system (not related to 
> telephone systems) and retired to the New England Museum of Telephony 
> ("The Telephone Museum") in Ellsworth, Maine, where it has been stored 
> since that time. Unfortunately, the folks at that museum have decided 
> to "de-accession" it, as it is not really part of their mission, and 
> is taking up too much space. It is also likely to get damaged by 
> future activities near its present location. If you have confirmed 
> that someone or some organization would like it, please let me know. 
> The deadline before scrapping begins is October 15th.

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